Dungog Shire Council welcomes IPC ruling

Published on 14 February 2023

Dungog Shire Council Mayor, John Connors, has welcomed the decision handed down late yesterday by the Independent Planning Commission to refuse the development application made by Daracon Group on their Martin’s Creek Quarry upgrade, as the applicants had refused to carry out necessary infrastructure upgrades before increasing production, and insisted on an unacceptable level of haulage by road. 

The Commission found that “the road transportation of 450,000 tonnes a year of hard rock quarry product over 25 years would have unreasonable and unacceptable impacts for the communities along the proposed haulage route”. 

Mayor Connors said an independent Social Impact Assessment conducted by Council showed the project would not be in the community’s best interest. 

“We have never been opposed to the development application per se, but what we did feel strongly about, was the impact such extreme road haulage use would have on road and pedestrian safety, residential amenity, and road quality,” Cr Connors said.  

Dungog Shire Council met with the Commission on 20 October 2022 to express their views on the Project, recommending the rewording of the Department's draft recommended conditions of consent to ensure that the Applicant carries out the necessary intersection upgrades and infrastructure works prior to any road haulage of quarry products, and pays the appropriate contribution in accordance with the relevant Council's local infrastructure contribution plan requirements. 

The Commission also heard from representatives from Council at the Public Meeting, and again on 30 January 2023, providing a written submission to the Commission following a review of the Revised Application. At the time, Council acknowledged the reductions in road haulage, but reiterated its position that if consent was granted, then all quarry products should be transported by rail; if not, the proposed road upgrades and infrastructure must be in place prior to the commencement of quarry activities on the Site.  

Dungog Shire Council also noted that it has not agreed to enter into a Voluntary Planning Agreement with the Applicant for the proposed development, and that the operation is now limited to the approved 1991 consent conditions as determined in the NSW Court of Appeal Judgment. 

“We have maintained throughout that as a Council, we are pro-development, especially when it brings employment and social benefits for our community. But in this case, we felt, as the Commissioners ultimately did, that the negative impacts stemming from the project outweighed the benefits,” Cr Connors said. 

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